ELL236 : Introduction to Middle English

Convener(s): Dr Graham Williams


General Information

The late Middle Ages is a major milestone for English language and literature, and writing in Middle English includes some of the most fantastic and significant examples from our language's history: from internationally renowned superstars like Geoffrey Chaucer to the first examples of women writing everyday letters for themselves. This is also the period in which English is elaborated as a language (i.e. used in new contexts, such as letter-writing). In this module we will read a selection of different types of texts in the original Middle English. No previous knowledge of Middle English is necessary and you will be provided with multiple resources, including translations and dictionaries, to help you gain confidence in reading and discussing these texts as literary and linguistic artifacts. Primary texts include: Chaucer's masterpiece, Troilus and Criseyde; Malory's Sir Lancelot and Guinevere; the anonymous dream-vision Pearl; and the morality play Mankind.


The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures and seminars will rotate between linguistic and literary focus, allowing students from diverse backgrounds (and different degree programmes) to engage at all levels of the course. There are also bi-weekly study hours, which will be set aside as extra office hours specifcally for this module.


Two 2000-word essays (50% each). For the essays, you will choose one question from a list of questions. The choice of questions will allow for you to focus on literary and/or linguistic approaches, and will ask you to apply these to the primary texts on the module.

Contact Details

Dr Graham Williams


Information last changed: Thursday 28th of January 2016 :: 12:40:08 PM (GMT)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK